Former employee reapplies? Beware retaliation lawsuit

Consider this before dismissing a request for reinstatement or new job application from a former employee: She may be trying to set up a lawsuit alleging that turning her down amounted to retaliation. Don’t fall into that trap.

Substandard work before FMLA leave? Beware retaliation suit for later poor reviews


Don’t think that just because an employee was a poor performer before she requested FMLA leave, a poor review after the request can’t be retaliation. If there is other evidence of retaliation (like a direct statement that FMLA leave was a factor), then the previous poor performance won’t be much of a defense.

Oilfield services firm settles retaliation suit for $30,000

Garrison Contractors, a West Texas oil-industry construction company, has agreed to settle charges it retaliated against a female employee after she reported sexual harassment.

Slightly lower evaluation rating isn't retaliation

To constitute retaliation for engaging in protected activity, an employer has to do something that would dissuade a reasonable employee from complaining in the first place. A poor evaluation, by itself, isn’t enough.

Not so fast! Texas whistle-blowers must pursue internal remedies before they can sue


Texas law requires public employees who are fired by their employing agency to pursue internal appeals of that decision. Otherwise, they can’t sue in state court over alleged wrongful discharge for whistle-blowing. Government employers should make sure they raise that defense if they don’t have any record of the worker making an internal appeal.

Prepare for more OSHA whistle-blower retaliation complaints

OSHA has issued a memo emphasizing that it only needs “reasonable cause” to find merit in a retaliation complaint. What does this mean for your business?

Jury awards $550k to porn-viewing sheriffs

Two Northumberland County sheriffs who were fired for using department computers to watch porn will split $550,000 after a jury ruled the county violated their rights.

2nd degree burn: Order to fire can be retaliation

Retaliation can be anything that would dissuade a reasonable employee from reporting alleged wrongdoing—such as harassment or discrimination—in the first place. And it doesn’t just apply to direct punishment against an employee. It can even be an employer’s action that targets an employee’s co-workers or associates.

OK to call or text with settlement offers


The Fair Labor Standards Act protects employees and former employees against retaliation for complaining about wage-and-hour violations, including filing lawsuits. For example, an employer can’t try to punish a former employee by providing false negative references or otherwise interfering with someone’s job prospects. Basically, retaliation is anything that would dissuade a reasonable person from making the complaint in the first place. Fortunately, simply asking the former employee if he wants to settle a lawsuit isn’t enough, even if the effort is persistent and makes for an uncomfortable confrontation.

Trio of EEOC charges leads San Antonio firm to settle

San Antonio-based Taprite Fassco has settled gender, disability and retaliation charges leveled by a female quality control employee. Taprite Fassco manufactures carbon dioxide regulators for soda and beer dispensers.

Gov't staff can speak out on matters of public importance

Public employees retain free speech rights under the First Amendment and can’t be punished for speaking out if they do so as citizens and not in their role as a government employee.

OSHA protects accounting whistle-blowers


Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, commonly known as SOX, employees who report alleged accounting irregularities internally and to OSHA are protected from retaliation if their employer punishes the activity. Making simple statements that aren’t very specific can be enough to meet the employee’s reporting requirement under the law. It’s enough that the employee reasonably believes that he is reporting wrongdoing. He doesn’t have to know the details, just that it probably violates the law.

Don't let pettiness fuel years of litigation

Here’s an important lesson to impart to supervisors and managers: Petty fights and anger over perceived injustices that lead to resignations or termination may spur multiyear litigation and cost hundreds of thousands in legal fees, lost time and damage awards.

Don't fire EAP counselor for backing worker


Most employers outsource employee assistance plans, which offer confidential counseling to help workers deal with personal problems, work-related stress and other concerns. But some organizations handle EAP services in-house. That can cause a potential conflict of interest if an EAP counselor’s advice creates liability for the employer or calls into question its actions.

NLRB says retailer's 'no pay talk' rule violated NLRA

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled against Love Culture, purveyor of teen clothing, after it fired an employee from its St. Louis Park, Minn. store for discussing pay.
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